Because she’s leaving shortly, and has been one of the few people that I’ve known since freshman year first semester that I still talk to, I wanted to say thanks to Lindsay Vance Smith.
She introduced me to my Sophomore roommate.
She introduced me to my girlfriend for most of college.
She was my friend and compatriot through my English major phase.
She’s been enough Grove City to fit in but real world enough to rebel.
She can write better than about anyone I know.
So, because of that, I shall put one of my favorite short stories of hers that she has posted on her journal. I look forward to when she’s famous, I ask her to sign the book she wrote, her remembering me, and catching up again on life.
Being Mrs. Price left a lot of room for movement: when Mr. Price left for work in the morning, Mrs. Price could sit in her bedroom slippers for two hours and eat Museli in bed. She could refuse to put her bowl in the dishwasher; she could shower or not shower. While she did have her first class at ten o’clock and did have to walk the Pom, she could wear black pants or pink and take Fussy out the back door or the front. Her day consisted of choice and decision, all of which she faced… and then made.
She had been Mrs. Price for four years which was beginning to approach five, enough time to build and decorate a house (a tasteful blend of her style and Mr. Price’s), adopt a dog, and stop caring about who did the laundry or whether it even got done. If the house grew too untidy—why, they simply called Rosa. She loved Mr. Price, and she loved signing her name Mary Anne Price in neat round letters.
It surprised her, therefore, when one day Amanda—junior instructor at Easy Mind Yoga and Pilates—asked her, “Why did you decide to drop your maiden name?”
Mary Anne had chosen tea this morning and played with her tea bag, puzzled. “I never really thought about it, I guess. I didn’t see any reason not to take Randy’s name.” She watched Amanda’s engagement ring sparkle while she stirred sugar substitute into her coffee. “Why? Are you going to keep yours?”
Amanda shrugged, two thin shoulders under a terry cloth hoody. “Probably. I mean, I always thought it’d be so degrading, you know? To give up your identity like that. But I guess if it never bothered you.”
Did it bother her? Mrs. Price creased her brow and wandered her mind that day. She was proud of the classes she instructed and proud of her thin, languid frame, taut from so many years of discipline. She’d never considered that giving up a name meant giving up that; but, no, that couldn’t be right. Her hair had remained red, her figure reedy, her personality intact. Besides, she liked her new name. Didn’t she?
She would ask Mr. Price.
He came home that night in his blue suit and green tie, with his hair brushed and shiny. He looked royal, she thought, and loved him on sight until the shadow crossed her mind: “I have his name. Did my identity leave when that happened?”
“Hi babe,” he said with his head in the fridge; he had seen her standing in the door of the kitchen. “What’s to eat around here—I’m starving.”
She wrapped her arms around his back in welcome. “Randy… why did I take your name?”
“Because you got married to me, goof.” He shrugged to the cabinets, still searching. “Guess it was just the thing to do. Why?”
“Did I give up my identity?”
“God, no… I mean, why would you think that?” He came toward her and touched her face, as he did often. “You’re just the way I like you… is that what you want me to say?”
He was lovely, Mr. Price, so Mary Anne smiled and nodded.
“Well there we go. Will you take the dog out while I change?”
She got the leash and the dog and found the shadow of the day had lifted. From upstairs, her husband called to her: “Do me a favor and take him out back—I’m trying to work on the grass in the front!”
So Mrs. Price took the dog out back.